Darienne and Mark (both of UNISON) will speak at our full day of talks about LGBT History on “Out and Proud in Trade Unions”.
Inspired by her personal experiences of border agencies, alien courts and deportation, Darienne Flemington has worked as an international activist for LGBT rights for over 25 years and was recently elected to sit on the ILGA Europe’s executive board. As a committed trade unionist she is also the Co-Chair of UNISON’s National LGBT Committee, and hasrepresented LGBT workers interests on UNISON’s National Women’s Committee. She works in local government where she is committed to fighting discrimination in all of its forms, as well as negotiating and organising for equality at work.
Mark Kelly runs a company which provides specialist support for University students who experience mental health issues. Previously he worked for 10 years at a Further Education College where he managed innovative and groundbreaking projects which engaged with socially excluded groups of young people and adults and won national praise from the Learning & Skills Council and NIACE. Mark’s role in the college also involved him managing a curriculum area, developing and delivering specialist staff training and facilitating an LGBT youth support group. Mark has been an active trade unionist with UNISON for over 20 years and works at a local, regional and national level. He is a previous co-chair of UNISON’s National LGBT Committee and is a senior activist in UNISON’s South West Region. Mark also works with Devon & Cornwall Police as an independent LGBT / Diversity advisor and is a trained Critical Incident Advisor.
Their talk with discuss the way in which Trade Unions have been at the forefront of campaigns to change equality law, contractual rights and workplace practices on LGBT equality – a role that is not always acknowledged, with the media quick to portray unions as concerned with narrow self-interest. Following the Brexit vote and other political upheavals, many feel as though we are in uncharted waters, with prejudice and hate crime on the increase. This presentation will consider the lessons we can learn from the past to guide us through the next months and years. UNISON is clear about the importance of maintaining a strong value base and how we can continue to play a significant role in promoting LGBT equality at work, in the community and in public services in the future.
UNISON is also sponsoring the Festival at a national level.